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Child Custody Interstate Relocation

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As The Former Chief Of The Jersey City Police Department And Current Owner Of A Licensed New Jersey Private Investigation Firm As Well As Being An Active Private Investigator In The Field, I Strive To Provide Information Relative To My Business.  Cowan Investigations Specializes In Child Custody Issues And Is Constantly Keeping Up On All Relavent Case Law In Order That I May Serve My Clients Better.
My writings are not to be construed to lead one to believe I come an  any where close to possessing the knowledge of  New Jersey Family Law that a qualified and Licensed New Jersey Family Law Attorney Does.  However, as a Fully Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator that specializes in divorce related issues, specifically Child Custody Issues as well as Alimony and Cohabitation Matters I find that in order to provide competent service to clients it is imperative I am on top of the constant changing landscape of Case Law Related To New Jersey Family Law.  As a New Jersey Private Investigator I take pride in the fact that when a potential client contacts me regarding a divorce related issue I am able to discuss the issue intelligently with him or her rather then pretend to have a basis of knowledge of the cutting edge case law as many New Jersey Private Investigators try to get away with while consulting with clients.  Rest assured, if I have an article posted regarding a particular legal case such as this article it means three things,  1.  I read the case,   2.  I understand what I read, and   3.  I possess enough knowledge to have a conversation about the subject matter.
 Regardless of the subject matter of a particular New Jersey Court Ruling in a Family Court Matter there always the potentiality for the necessity of the involvement of a New Jersey Private Investigator, even in a matter such as the Relocation of a child out of state as the case I have cited below is about.  The 2017, New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling in Bisbing V. Bisbing is an interesting and required read for anyone being divorced and entering into any type of child custody agreements, as you will see, it is critical to know what you are signing and only sign after conferring with a qualified New Jersey Family Law Attorney.  For the convenience of my readers I have summarized the Court Rulings and also provided links to several of the Court Rulings.
Summary Of Recent New Jersey Supreme Court Ruling On Interstate Relocation Of Children With Respect To Child Custody Orders
In Bisbing V. Bisbing A Child Custody Interstate Relocation Case The New Jersey Supreme Court Set New Parameters To be Considered When These Cases Are Analyzed By The Trial Court.  Essentially The Trial Court Dis Not In Essence Set New Precedent But Returned To The “Best Interests Of The Child Test”.  The Supreme Court summary Is attached As A Link For The Convenience Of Readers, In Summary, the case went as follows:
In early 2013, Glenn investigated job opportunities in Colorado and California. The parties separated in August, and in November of that year, Jaime began a long-distance relationship with a resident of Utah who had children from a previous marriage. The Utah resident is the owner of a business in Idaho and also has business interests that require him to travel frequently to California and Louisiana.

On March 8, 2014, the parties entered into a marital settlement agreement (MSA) following the parties’ participation, without counsel, in mediation with an attorney-mediator. The parties agreed to joint legal custody. They agreed that Jaime would have primary residential custody, with the condition that she not relocate out of state.

Pursuant to Article 1.2 of the MSA, Jaime also agreed to “broad, reasonable and liberal timesharing” of the children with Glenn. Glenn was provided parenting time with his daughters on Father’s Day, Glenn’s birthday, “every other weekend and on one weeknight during the weeks when he does not have parenting time.” Glenn had parenting time on two continuous weeks during the summer; and every other Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the children’s school breaks. Under Article 1.3, both parties were also “entitled to attend all of the Children’s sporting and extracurricular activities no matter whose parenting day they might fall on.”

Article 1.9 Relocation provides the following terms regarding a change of residence:

The parties agree that each shall inform the other with respect to any change of residence concerning himself or herself or the said minor Children for the period of time wherein any provision contained in this Agreement remains unfulfilled. The parties represent that they both will make every effort to remain in close proximity, within a fifteen (15) minute drive from the other. Neither party shall permanently relocate with the Children from the State of New Jersey without the prior written consent of the other. Neither parent shall relocate intrastate further than 20 miles from the other party. In the event either party relocates more than 20 miles from the other party, the parties agree to return to mediation to review the custody arrangement. In the event a job would necessitate a move, the parties agree to discuss this together and neither will make a unilateral decision. Neither party shall travel with the minor 538*538 Children outside of the United States without the prior written consent of the other party.

The parties hereby acknowledge that the Children’s quality of life and style of life are provided equally by Husband and Wife.

The parties hereby acknowledge a direct causal connection between the frequency and duration of the Children’s contact with both parties and the quality of the relationship of the Children and each party.

The parties hereby acknowledge that any proposed move that relocates the Children any further away from either party may have a detrimental impact upon the frequency and duration of the contact between the Children and the non-moving party.

On April 16, 2014, a final judgment of divorce (JOD) was entered incorporating the MSA. According to Glenn, after the divorce, he was “intricately involved in all aspects of the girls’ lives.” He coached their soccer team, took them to ski club activities, and attended their school events.

One month after the divorce, Jaime sent an e-mail to Glenn informing him that, although she received no alimony, she was planning to leave her job on July 1, 2014, to become a full-time stay-at-home parent, which she did.

On January 8, 2015, less than nine months after the divorce, Jaime called Glenn to notify him of her intention to get married to the Utah resident and relocate to Utah. Jaime asked for Glenn’s permission to move with their daughters to Utah. Glenn refused, stating, “You can move, just leave the girls with me.”

On March 16, eleven months after the divorce, Jaime filed a motion seeking to relocate with the children to Utah without the need for a plenary hearing. The court granted the motion allowing relocation without holding a plenary hearing on the condition that a visitation schedule be established through mediation, signing the order on April 24, 2015. On July 14, 2015, after an unsuccessful mediation, with only Jaime suggesting a parenting plan, the court issued a supplemental order establishing a parenting time and communication schedule using most of Jaime’s suggestions.[2]

Eleven days later, Jaime and the children “left for a vacation to Utah.” Three days thereafter, Jaime permanently relocated with the children in Utah.

In it’s Ruling the trial court applied the standard set forth in this Court’s decision in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91, 118-20, 770 A.2d 214 (2001). Under Baures, a parent with primary custody seeking to relocate children out of state over the objection of the other parent must demonstrate only that there is a good-faith reason for an interstate move and that the relocation “will not be inimical to the child’s interests.
Defendant appealed, and an Appellate Division panel reversed the trial court’s judgment. The panel held that if defendant were to make a showing on remand that plaintiff had negotiated the parties’ custody agreement in bad faith, the trial court should not apply the “inimical to the child’s interest” standard of Baures but should instead determine whether relocation would be in the best interests of the child. The panel thus imposed on a plaintiff who has negotiated a custody arrangement in bad faith a higher burden of proof on the question of “cause” under N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 than the burden imposed under Baures
The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed and modified the Appellate Division’s judgment. “We depart from the two-part test that Baures prescribed for a relocation application brought by a parent of primary residence. We apply the same standard to all interstate relocation disputes under N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 in which the parents share legal custody — cases in which one parent is designated as the parent of primary residence and the other is designated as the parent of alternate residence and cases in which custody is equally shared. In all such disputes, the trial court should decide whether there is “cause” under N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 to authorize a child’s relocation out of state by weighing the factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 9:2-4, and other relevant considerations, and determining 1157*1157 whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests”.


About the author:  Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full-service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm, Bob is the former Chief
of the Jersey City Police Department and has 35 years experience as a police officer in New Jersey’s second-largest municipality.

If you wish to speak with me regarding this article, or if you need a consultation regarding it’s contents please do not hesitate to call me at 732-837-8444, seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm.  

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